After paying premiums each year, a loss is the insurer’s opportunity to deliver on the promise of the insurance policy and provide you with the support and resources to help you recover from an unexpected disaster. Many quality home insurance providers will help you in your hour of need.
When you file your property claim its good to know some of the fine points yourself:
- Report your claim promptly and be informed:
Get a replacement copy of your policy and Declarations Page as soon as possible. Check the stated dollar limits for your main coverage categories: Dwelling, Contents (personal property), and Additional Living Expenses. Check for building code/ordinance coverage, “endorsements”, (extra coverages), and “scheduled” personal property items, (artwork, jewelry, valuables). Make sure policy limits accurately reflect the coverage you thought you had purchased. Get a copy of the regulations or laws that govern fair claim settlements in your state from your Department of Insurance.
- Maintain an insurance claim diary:
Take and keep detailed notes of all conversations with insurance company representatives… record their names, phone numbers, job titles and supervisor’s names. Confirm agreements in writing and include deadlines in those agreements.
- Document your loss thoroughly:
Written or photographic proof of destroyed items may also have been destroyed in a fire. Your descriptions of lost items, along with descriptions given by witnesses, family members, neighbors and friends, should suffice and your company should reimburse you according to your policy. Credit card companies and retailers can help you reconstruct purchases and identify replacement costs.
- “Additional living expense” coverage:
Submit for reimbursement all receipts of meals, lodging, and purchases from the time of the fire until your home is rebuilt. Maintain copies for your records. If insurance company delays or circumstances beyond your control made the rebuilding or take longer, talk to your claims adjuster about longer ALE benefits.
- The “scope of work”
Get a “scope of work” from your adjuster that defines the amount and nature of repair they believe are needed. Have an independent restoration contractor, such as Cornerstone Appraisal & Restoration, review and if necessary, revise the scope. Cornerstone will work with you and your adjuster to reach an agreement on scope. This way estimates with similar scopes will compare “apples to apples.” This can help resolve the most common problem that turns claims into disputes.